MA in Peace and Justice Student, Saud Almaweel, Makes a Difference at YALLA

Tuesday, September 5, 2017TOPICS: Student SuccessChangemaker

Saud Almaweel working with students at YALLA
begin quoteThe Kroc School has prepared me to make a positive impact in YALLA SD by providing me with supportive environment for peace studies and conflict resolution with classmates from different backgrounds, religions, races and perspectives.

Masters in Peace and Justice (MAPJ) student, Saud Almaweel, has spent his time this summer interning with YALLA, a non-profit program based in San Diego that combines the promise of education and passion of soccer to inspire refugee and immigrant to achieve a college education. 

El Cajon, California in east San Diego county is one of the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas in the state with nearly 20% of residents living below the poverty line. It is also one of the fastest growing refugee resettlement areas in the country. Though many try their best, area schools are often unable to adequately assist low-income immigrant and refugee students with the unique social and academic challenges they face. YALLA San Diego was founded in 2010 with the mission of providing quality after-school education, soccer, and college preparatory programs to refugee and immigrant youth in East County San Diego. Since then, we have served over 1,200 youth, sent nearly 200 more to college, and ensured that these children who have experienced conflict and displacement receive an enriching experience by competing with their friends in the Presidio youth soccer league while receiving instruction from credentialed YALLA coaches. In 2016, our high school seniors received 2.4 million dollars in scholarships, and we plan to continue that tradition this year as YALLA has provides ACT/SAT prep courses which have so far been filled to capacity with participants who will later enter into the College Bound program.

“Saud has directly contributed to our services by working directly with our kids as they improve their grades, work on project based learning activities and improve their English language skills. In order to ensure that YALLA's programs provide effective services to the refugee's they serve, Saud also performs monitoring and evaluation of key program indicators”, says Community Programs Manager, William Ackerman. William adds, “Through doing both program management and development, Saud has gained a greater understanding of how community based organizations function within the larger non-profit eco-system of San Diego, which over the decades has become uniquely suited to helping refugees.”

We asked Saud, “How did the Kroc School prepare you to make a positive impact in Yalla SD during your internship program?"

The Kroc School has prepared me to make a positive impact in YALLA San Diego by providing me with supportive environment for peace studies and conflict resolution with classmates from different backgrounds, religions, races and perspectives who share the common interest of making peace.

The various classes offered at the Kroc School provided me with the skill set to effectively design, monitor and evaluate projects. The Border Peacebuilding, and Human Rights class has helped me gain many practical and life skills through the opportunity of facilitating seminars about the impact of violence in the San Diego region. In this practice-based course, I also learned how to conduct interviews with refugees and immigrants.

My experience at YALLA has been exciting. Working with YALLA provided me with the opportunity to engage with the community while making an impact in the life of myself and others. Since I started working as a volunteer at YALLA I felt I was a part of this place. I learned the importance of non-profit organizations and how they function and operate. What I liked the most about YALLA is the fact that people who work as administrators work with student refugees in the classes as well.

Contact:

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies
krocschool@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-7919

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies

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